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Happily Ever after

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About the Author

Anna Quindlen, whose New York Times column won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize, is the author of the essay collections Thinking Out Loud and Living Out Loud; the bestselling novels Object Lessons, One True Thing, and Black and Blue; and two children's books. The mother of three, she lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.


Quindlen's breezy, farcical romp centers on a tomboy who loves reading fairy tales when she's not on the Little League field. When a magical baseball mitt unexpectedly grants Kate's wish to "try being a princess sometime," she suddenly finds herself sitting in a stone tower, wearing a pink dress "that laced up the front like a sneaker" and a jeweled crown. Wreaking playful havoc with stock fairytale characters and clichés, Quindlen has Kate eluding the advances of a lovestruck suitor who sings "some song about picking roses and watching beauty fade" as he ignores the approach of first an enemy knight and then a dragon (Kate fends off both). Later, the prince leaves Kate to be captured by a witch and her troll sidekick, who just want Kate to teach them some games ("We only kidnap all of you [princesses] because we're so lonely out here," they confess). Stevenson limns the proceedings in thin black-and-white cartoons of armored knights on horseback, turreted castles and bemused royals and courtiers. While this isn't an especially weighty effort, the collision between the tale's make-believe sensibility and the heroine's down-to-earth, '90s attitude and jargon results in an appealingly glib prose style that's neatly tailored to kids. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)

Gr 1-4‘Kate is a fourth grader who plays shortstop for her Little League team and runs faster than anyone in her class. She also loves fairy tales. One day while reading with her Aunt Mary's "very special" baseball mitt under her pillow, Kate wishes she were a princess and is granted her wish. However, she discovers quickly that being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be: the handsome prince is rather wimpy and castle life is boring. After saving herself from the requisite dragon, witch, and black knight, Kate teaches the Ladies-in-Waiting and serving maids to play baseball and then happily returns to the present. The clever text is short and simple, subtly contrasting the different roles of a girl growing up in medieval and modern times. Kate is an insouciant and likable heroine, brought to life admirably by Stevenson's humorous illustrations. The theme is no longer new, but this is a lively and entertaining treatment.‘Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA

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